Did you know that March 23 is a special day as people around the world celebrate World Meteorological Day? Meteorology is the study of atmospheric phenomena, particularly, weather. It is a necessary discipline that focuses on examining weather patterns and forecasting. Meteorology studies tornadoes, hurricanes, storms, fires, and many other phenomena that affect our life on the planet. Meteorology has numerous applications in various fields, including military, energy, agriculture, etc.
On March 23, 1950, World Meteorological Organisation was founded. Since 1961, the WMO has celebrated World Meteorological Day with a different theme every year. Every theme highlights the contemporary weather-related challenges humanity faces. For example, last year was dedicated to raising the awareness of weather hazards and ways we can prepare for extreme weather (“Weather-Ready, Climate-Smart”). One of the goals of the WMO is to promote knowledge about naturally occurring climate variability and climate change.
As the theme of this year is “The Sun, the Earth and the Weather”, World Meteorological Day is an opportunity to learn more about the main source of energy in our Solar System. The Sun is responsible for many weather-related phenomena on our planet, and also ocean currents and the hydrological cycle. It means our mood and everyday activities heavily depend on how the Sun behaves.
Thanks to its massive gravitational pull, magnetic field, and fiery nature, the Sun is the heart of our Solar System. The Sun is the primary source of life on Earth. Being the most massive object in the Solar System, the Sun significantly affects our planet’s climate. For example, it is responsible for the annual cycle of seasons and associated temperature changes. What is more, the Sun is the key player in the hydrological cycle affecting the planet’s precipitation (rain, snow, dew) and moving an enormous quantity of water around the planet. One of the most spectacular natural phenomena is caused by the solar wind - Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights.
Even though the Sun’s energy output has not changed for the past 30 years, we are experiencing the worldwide rise in temperatures causing floods, droughts, and ice melting. The absorbing-emitting Earth balance has been disturbed due to the industrial era. Climate change has led to heat extremes and temperature records. With global warming, climate-related problems are predicted to increase. However, the Sun readily offers its help to stop temperatures from rising in the form of renewable energy. Even in cloudy weather, it is possible to harness energy directly from the Sun. Solar panels are becoming increasingly popular in the world as easily available, accessible and feasible renewable energy options that can help reduce carbon emissions globally.
The Sun is the core of the Solar System that makes life on Earth possible. Our existence depends on how well Earth manages Solar energy. March 23 is the day when we all can think of how we can contribute to helping our planet both harness the power of the Sun and protect us from it.